I have communicated with a Canadian employer called Mark Wafer in a number of Linked In groups we both belong to. Mark talks a lot about the business benefits of employing disabled people. And he talks from experience, not just wishful thinking. Mark owns the franchise on a number of restaurants in Canada, and in total has hired 91 disabled people, with currently 41 of his workforce of 210 being disabled people.
His enthusiasm about employing disabled people stems from his own experience. For example, in 2011 the absentee rate for all of his disabled employees was zero. None if his disabled employees have ever had a work-related injury. Mark says that the biggest barrier to disabled employees is the attitude of employers. And he also says that private sector employers are the only group of people who can make a huge difference in terms of inclusive employment.
Mark has, himself, encountered discrimination in the workplace, having a hearing impairment, with only 20% hearing. But his reason for hiring so many disabled people is based on good commercial business reasons, not pity. The first disabled employee Mark hired was Clint Sparling, a young man with Down Syndrome. Mark immediately noticed how Clint worked hard and cheerfully. He rarely took sick leave and boosted the morale of other staff. Nearly two decades later Clint still works for Mark, has got married and owns his own condo.
Whilst this example is from a business in Canada, the principles are global. Hiring disabled people makes sense.
Read more about Mark and his diverse team here.
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